Publicis, Havas up; Grey's profits fall 24%

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Two French ad giants boasted strong year-to-date performances last week, while a U.S. agency company had less impressive news:

* Publicis Groupe, Paris, reported consolidated revenue of $4.85 billion for the first nine months of the year, up 22% from the same period in 1998. Real growth after currency devaluation and inflation was 12%. The results point to end-of-year revenue growing more than 20%, with profits rising even higher, Publicis said. Growth came from new acquisitions in the U.S. and major account wins, including Swedish telco Ericsson's global business.

* Havas Advertising, Paris, posted consolidated billings of $5.52 billion for the first nine months of 1999, up 33%. Gross income rose in the same proportion as billings, Havas said. Latin America grew at a 44% rate during the first three quarters, Europe was up 10.5%, Asia-Pacific up 10.4% and North America up 10.1%.

* Grey Advertising, New York, said third-quarter net income fell almost 24% to $4.6 million. Income from commissions and fees climbed 9.9% to $262 million, as gross billings hit $1.75 billion. For the first nine months, Grey reported a net loss of $1.89 million vs. $19.4 million in net income a year ago; commission and fee income rose 9.9% to $751 million.

RAB cites 14% jump in radio ad sales

Radio ad sales continued to grow in September, jumping an average of 14% from a year ago in local and national markets across the country, according to Radio Advertising Bureau figures. Large increases in national markets, particularly in the East and West, helped fuel the growth. According to RAB's calculations from a revenue index of more than 100 radio markets, ad sales for the first nine months of 1999 are up 13%. Also, the bureau announced the RAB e-Commerce Solution, a program to help radio stations take advantage of online shopping via their Web sites.

Korea's LG Electronics kicks off $30 mil in ads

South Korea-based LG Electronics launched a $30 million global branding campaign. Most of the TV and print advertising is focused in Europe, but about 10% of the budget will be spent running the same creative work in a handful of Southeast Asian countries. Early next year, the advertising will expand to South America and the Middle East with different creative work. In-house agency LG Ad, Seoul, is coordinating the effort, but most of the creative work will come from Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide's Duesseldorf office. The ads introduce the new slogan "Digitally yours."

CEO Marineau takes reins of Levi Strauss marketing

Levi Strauss & Co. eliminated the position of chief marketing officer, placing marketing responsibilities in the hands of new President-CEO Philip Marineau. "Given Phil's strong marketing background, the position was redundant," a company spokesman said. Gordon Shank, Levi Strauss' first-ever chief marketing officer, will leave the company at an unspecified date, the spokesman said. Mr. Marineau, formerly president-CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America, will determine Levi Strauss' strategic marketing direction, working with Robert Holloway, who heads the youth category with its L2, Red Tab and Silver Tab lines, and James Capon, head of the young adult brands, Dockers and Slates. Mr. Shank previously spearheaded Levi Strauss' move into online selling, which will be discontinued after the holiday season. The spokesman said the marketer will continue to pursue Mr. Shank's other responsibility of looking for acquisitions of other apparel brands.

Allstate to concentrate on direct, online sales

Allstate Corp. said it will concentrate on direct and online sales, including a larger commitment to marketing. Allstate said it plans to spend $700 million through 2000 to make the change, including investments in systems development, marketing and advertising. The company will ax 4,000 jobs, or 10% of its work force, to cut $600 million in annual costs to fund those changes. The company didn't reveal how much it plans to spend on advertising but said it would be an increase over the $85 million spent in 1998. In July, Allstate broke a new ad campaign from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

Congress OKs tougher sweepstakes rules

Congress on Nov. 10 voted final approval to a bill requiring marketers to add more disclosures on sweepstakes mailings, giving the U.S. Postal Service additional enforcement authority and attempting to limit mailers' aping of government mail. Approval of the legislation had been expected. It would require marketers to say several times that no purchase is necessary and that purchasing doesn't increase the chance of winning. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate ratified Thomas Leary's appointment to the Federal Trade Commission, giving the FTC five commissioners for the first time in months. Mr. Leary, 67, a Washington lawyer, is a Republican.

Soderstrom exits Schwab; gets 3Com branding post

Jan Soderstrom has landed at 3Com Corp. in the new post of senior VP-marketing and brand management. She will focus on redefining the 3Com brand. Ms. Soderstrom comes to the company after two months at Charles Schwab & Co., where she was senior VP-global brand management. Before that, she was VP-international at Visa International.

P&G thwarted in suit against ex-employee

An Ohio court dismissed Procter & Gamble Co.'s suit against a former marketing director in Germany and Alberto-Culver Co., which last year named him its president for international operations. The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas ruled P&G hadn't proved Paul Stoneham had given trade secrets to Alberto-Culver. In a suit filed last year, P&G contended Mr. Stoneham's rise to a much higher position at Alberto-Culver could only be explained by its competitor's desire to tap his extensive knowledge P&G's global haircare strategy. In a statement, Mr. Stoneham said he had always kept P&G trade secrets confidential, even after jointing Alberto-Culver. Alberto-Culver President-CEO Howard B. Bernick accused P&G of prolonging the litigation "to attempt to dominate, intimidate and create serious financial burdens for the small companies with which it competes. At the same time, they are trying to preclude those companies from freely hiring executives for senior management positions and attempting to intimidate and limit the career choices of their own employees."

Former `Outdoor' editor Bryant goes to Wenner

Mark Bryant, celebrated editor of Outside from 1990 till earlier this year, was named editor of Wenner Media's Men's Journal. He takes over from Terry McDonnell, who becomes editor in chief of Us Weekly, to be launched next year. Mr. Bryant resigned from Santa Fe, N.M.-based Outside earlier this year, along with his partner and Outside's creative director Susan Casey. Ms. Casey recently took an editor at large job with Time Inc., to work with Editor in Chief Norm Pearlstine. Mr. Bryant is credited with leading Outside to three consecutive general excellence National Magazine Awards during his tenure.

Also . . .

CelebrityStores.com tapped Beber Silverstein & Partners, Miami, for its estimated $4 million account. Plexus M/2, an Internet marketing company and a strategic partner of Beber Silverstein, also will be involved. CelebrityStores.com is expected to launch in first quarter 2000, offering celebrity-theme news and merchandise. . . . Procter & Gamble Co. agreed to sell its Prell shampoo brand to Prestige Brands International, Bonita Springs, Fla. Prell is the first acquisition for Prestige, a newly formed company, backed by several venture capital groups, that plans to acquire and market established consumer-goods brands. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, was agency of record for Prell, but the brand hadn't received ad support in recent years. . . . Good Housekeeping Institute next January enters the 100th year of giving its Seal of Approval to products advertised in Good Housekeeping's pages. To celebrate the anniversary, the January issue of the Hearst Magazines title will carry a special ad section featuring 16 advertisers that have been awarded the seal.

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